During his lifetime Dr. Pressel received very little acknowledgement for his work from his colleagues. An important exception to this was the Bavarian doctor Gretl Stritzel. She showed genuine interest and came to work in Dr. Pressel’s practice for weeks at the time on several occasions during the last years of Dr. Pressel’s life and thus learnt his therapeutic massage form. It is due to her that the idea of offering massage courses surfaced around 1975.
Dr. Pressel found it hard to leave his patients in order to conduct a training course and did not see himself able to devote more than one week at the time to this. Otherwise he was more than happy to share the therapy he had developed. To him the massage meant an opportunity to diagnose, heal and prevent. It was a mission for him to pass this on since it had proven itself so very effective when none or only few other therapies were available.
When one considers that many anthroposophical, homeopathic and other natural remedies are brushed off as ineffective while patients suffer from the increasing side effects of allopathic medicines or allopathic medicines simply becoming intolerable, our “simple” option for treatment takes on new importance. Dr. Pressel commented on this in the following manner: “There might come situations where we have nothing but our hands to use as treatment tools and then we need enough people to know what they can do with them”. Perhaps in the not too far off future not even pharmaceuticals will be of use to us any more.
From approximately 1977 on several one week and quite a few weekend courses were conducted. Dr. Pressel taught, Lies Pressel and Gretl Stritzel assisted. The participants were professional therapists, curative pedagogues and housewives who wanted to care for their families. The number of participants was between six and twelve, which is still upheld today in order to enable the very intimate connection required for teaching the essential, delicate nuances and progressions of the movements that are impossible to supervise in larger groups. These courses took place during Dr. Pressel’s last three years of life and the final phase of his battle with cancer. He finished his last course one week before his death.
Because of Dr. Pressel’s leadership, strong presence and his focus on the “Here and Now”, nobody during his life time gave any thought to what would happen to the development of the massage training after his death and which problems might be expected. His passing in 1980 brought on great confusion since nothing had been prepared nor discussed beforehand. Lies Pressel asked him on his death bed if he wanted her to continue on with the massage practice, which he confirmed with a vigorous nodding of the head (he no longer was able to speak).
Lies Pressel was soon asked for treatments by “his” patients and continued the work they had started together in a small, private massage practice. Little by little she discovered how much of Dr. Pressel’s abilities and knowledge she had absorbed into herself over the years and now was able to give forth on her own.
Gretl Stritzel had already for several years had her own practice where she also did massage. After the death of Dr. Pressel it was of the greatest importance to her to immediately continue the development of the massage training. This was all too soon for Lies Pressel, so from here on she and Gretl Stritzel parted ways. The continuing development of the massage followed two separate streams that sometimes flowed away from each other and sometimes ran in parallel. As often is the case with these kinds of differences and branchings off, the outside world was left somewhat confused about what was going on with the massage.
Recently Lies Pressel, who carries on the work of Dr. Pressel, and Thea Friemel, who carries on the work of Gretl Stritzel, have started a dialog in order to bridge these differences.